If you've been cited for operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI), you've made a serious lapse in judgment that can create a ripple effect throughout your life. An OVI defense attorney may be able to reduce the charges and/or negotiate better terms for the assessed penalties if they are able to secure a plea bargain.
Here are some steps to take when working with an OVI defense attorney to get a plea deal.
Plea Bargain Basics
A plea bargain is a negotiation between the defense attorney and the prosecution in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence or reduced penalties. You may want to consider a plea bargain if you meet the following criteria:
- You aren't disputing your guilt.
- It's your first controlled substance or serious driving offense.
- You need your driving privileges restored quickly.
Plea Bargain Benefits
A plea bargain can be difficult to rationalize — particularly if you feel like the charges might be flimsy or trumped up. However, plea bargains can come with significant benefits.
One of the key benefits of a plea bargain for a defendant is that it often results in a lesser sentence than if the case goes to trial and the defendant is found guilty. For example, a defendant who is facing a charge of OVI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher may be offered a plea bargain deal to reduce the charge to a lesser offense, such as reckless driving. This can result in a shorter jail sentence, lower fines, and less severe long-term consequences such as a suspended driver's license.
Plea bargain deals may also be used to avoid the uncertainty of a trial. A trial can be a stressful and time-consuming process, and there is always the risk that the jury will find the defendant guilty. A plea bargain allows the defendant to avoid this uncertainty and accept a known outcome. It can also help you avoid some expensive court costs.
Life After a Plea Bargain
A plea bargain can't undo the poor decision you made when you got behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, a plea bargain can help you restart your life.
Another benefit of a plea bargain is that it can help to resolve the case more quickly. Trials can take months or even years to complete, while a plea bargain can often be completed within a matter of weeks. This can be especially beneficial for defendants who have jobs or other responsibilities that would be affected by a prolonged legal process.